Russia's casinos are all over the place, quite literally.
This might sound a little odd for a country that we know
is not all that rich, but Russians do love to gamble, and
they like to do so publically.
It is also true that there is a huge division of wealth
in the country, with the poor having very little income
and the rich with huge incomes. The combination of public
gambling and the huge fortunes made very quickly in the
post Soviet years has meant an explosion of casinos of all
sorts all over Russia. Some of them are frequented so
often by those who made those fortunes quickly, it can
sometimes seem like they are trying to get rid of them
just as fast.
What it is actually is a form of social display,
oneupmanship if you like. There is a social status to be
gained from gambling not just prodigiously, but without
any real care as to winning or losing. It shows that the
gambler has so much money they don't have to worry about
whether they win or lose.
Rather like the joke about the two New Russians who
meet in the street. One admires the other's new tie.
" How much did you pay for that tie?" Second New
Russian, "'$200." "Ivan, you fool, I could
have shown you where to pay $300 for that!" Yes, it's
a joke, but it does say something about the attitudes
toward money that are there right now.
So, Russia's casinos can be full of people
grandstanding. What this also means is that there is no
regard for the cost of the places themselves; they are
extremely ornate, service has to be perfect, the drinks
and food superb, and so on. A very likely snack to be seen
in the casinos is caviar (either black or red), and it
isn't eaten sparingly either.
All this can make for an interesting experience in
Russia's casinos. The games will be run along the lines of
those in Las Vegas, although many of the managers (or now,
a few years after the fall of communism, those who trained
them were) are English, and the general experience will be
of a very high quality. As long, that is, as you stick to
the best casinos in town, for there will also be others,
of varying levels of legality, which the non-Russian
speaking foreigner might do well not to enter.
About the Author:
A. Awwad is the webmaster of USA Friendly Online Casinos
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